Friday, March 14, 2014

Canada Blooms 2014 Wild

Those of you who have followed my last few posts, probably have had your fill of my weather-whinging.  As a brief refresher - this is what my back porch looked like after the snow fall:

And this is what it looked like when the sun came out.  Merry Christmas everyone!

So last night on the eve of Canada Blooms, I have to confess, I hardly slept a wink (and yes, probably that expresso at 4:00 p.m. may have contributed too) knowing that today I was going to see lots of plants at the co-Canada Blooms/National Home Show.  So at 7:30 a.m. I hit the floor to find out what the show was about this year.

Random thoughts & some advice if you want to go:
1.  the level of garden construction is excellent
2.  the layout for the stuff you want to buy/the gardens you want to see/ the talks you want to hear is good
3.  considering the cloudy, cold winter and crop failure during the ice storm  - the flowers look good and smell great
4.  buy your tickets on-line $17.00 vs. $20.00 in person (less than popcorn, soda & a movie) & bring your own food
5.  time your visit to hear some speakers:  Here are some that I would like to hear and see:  Saturday:  Niki Jabbour does year-round gardening on the east coast; Theresa Forte from Niagara Region on Garden Photography; Tuesday:  Helen Battersby on Shade Gardening; and good Oakville friend Cathy Kavasallis on Berrylicious: Growing Fruits for Food, Fun and Wild friends.  And that's just four that I stumbled across.
6.  Pick Ontario has some great plant material - there are some 4" tropicals that would be wonderful additions to your summer pots and keep you company until it's time to plant them outside.

So, the's some of what I saw:

The little gardens really packed a punch.  #7 James Garfield Thompson Design.  Fun to use pieces of stone as table legs, top and side-board.

Seeing something like this reminds you that you don't need to have an extravagant space to make a lovely statement.

The larger gardens like this one by Creative Garden Designs and Hollander Landscaping called Vibrant Urban Wilderness - seemed quite cold when they were empty.  But came to life when the tours went through.

This is a sedum mix used for roof-top applications:

Living walls have certainly come a long way - an herb garden on the frontside/tropicals on the backside.

Here is the "wild creativity incorporated as a design element via graffiti"

Interlock is a sponsor.  And they have excellent products.  The installation was very well executed.  But they could do so much better.  Please, a bed in a water feature facing a TV and calling it Wilderness Retreat?  (Strictly speaking it is a retreat from the wilderness.)

Look how far they've come from those old cookie-cutter pavers:  Maybe next year.

Nice whimsy in the Landscape Ontario garden.

Pick Ontario has a market on the floor with the display gardens.  This marketing group does an excellent job showcasing their plants.  New this year is Crispy Wave:

If you feel the need to bring something home, there's lots to chose from:

Another little garden with lots of good ideas.  One of the contributors spoke about wanting to show what you could do in a tiny yard.

I thought this was a great idea for pole beans  (they're attached to the wall on an angle):

I don't usually think of stucco for an entry to a garden, but if your house has a stucco finish, perhaps this is something you could consider?

Always have a focal point in any garden:

While it's nice to get in before anyone else does, sometimes you need the crush of people around a display.  No doubt it won't be long before these ladies are mobbed.

Did you know that Ontario had a West Coast?  Well, neither did I.  Apparently it's Goderich.  Now we all know.  A lot of cedar here - what a wonderful scent.  Liked the banked walkway too.  Considering how open this garden was, it had a great feel to it.

And they had lots of tulips:

If you want to be confounded, this is the display garden to visit:

Spoiler Alert - this is what's inside:

And yes, I think it was completed, there's nothing else planned.

Pretty cut flowers to see:

 Yoga man:

Several gardens did take the Wild theme seriously:

stone and moss on old barn boards.

I'm sure this is secure, but boy, I felt odd walking through....

This is Parklane's display - beautiful execution - lots of awards - take your budget and multiply by 10.    The arbour is reclaimed pine from an old building that has been varathaned and sanded.  So old, there were square nails that had to be removed before they could work with it.  Looks like the pathway is Wiarton stone.

Just a section of the artwork/wall.

The yurt - every yard needs a yurt.

Making a tricky shaped garden look good isn't always easy - thought this was pleasant.

Not wild, but well done from Vaughan Landscaping:

And a few more snaps to leave you with:

And then it was time to leave the big city and go home to Oakville - GO service every 30 minutes from Exhibition:

Meeting some friends on Saturday - maybe I'll see you then!


Jennifer said...

I was hoping I would be less on the fence about going after seeing the pictures, but I am still not sure. Thanks for the preview!

Paul Jung said...

Thanks for the post, Barbara. Your photos and commentary are always enlightening, lol about the Goderich comment!

Don't know if I'll fight with the crowds.

Any use of natives/pollinator friendly plants that were memorable? (given the "Wild" tagline this year.)

Barbarapc said...

Jennifer, with the cold temperatures of today, I'm so tempted to go back - that and having to do Kevin's bookkeeping for the handoff to the accountant today - any reason for escape would be great. Do let me know what you thought if you go.
Paul - precious few, although there were lots of bee exhibits and graphics of beehives. There were a couple of exhibits that didn't photograph too well (operator problems, not the execution) & so they weren't included, but certainly made you feel that you were somewhere up in cottage country - it was through the landscaping rather than the plants. Spoke to someone who came back from the Philly show and they said, it can be done, because they did a wild meadow and it was fabulous. The difference is being able to ship from Florida, rather than the Niagara peninsula I suppose.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Barbara ... This is a great post to lift a gardener's spirits .. or is that a drink in a glass ? hahaha
Seriously since I never make it out to these events that was great to see .. love the water features especially!
BUT ? what really made me laugh ? .. OMG! .. your comments over at Grace's blog .. about the jack hammer etc ... my god girl roared!
How true is it that we nearly go MAD when we are able to get in our gardens .. I am so SICK of this WINTER ... thanks for the laugh .. did me the world of good!
Joy : )

Kim and Victoria said...

Well I think the snow is pretty! :-)
But I can just imagine how much you must have enjoyed those beautiful garden displays!

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